Each year it is estimated that more than two million high school students take the Scholastic Aptitude Test, better known as the SAT, with only about 300 achieving a perfect score of 1600. Among the few is Flower Mound’s Kaylee Pfister. The 17-year-old Flower Mound High School junior reached that rare milestone in October on her second try.
“I was aiming for a 1570 so I was pretty shocked especially since that particular test was curved and actually I missed one,” Kaylee said. “When I left the testing facility I knew I missed it and I thought there’s no way I’m going to get a 1600. So that was pretty shocking.”
Kaylee started preparing for the SAT in fourth grade at Garden Ridge Elementary as part of the Duke University Talent Identification Program that seeks and provides specialized guidance to help young, gifted students. The program administers practice SATs (PSATs) in advance of taking the actual test in seventh grade which for her was at Forrestwood
“That’s how I got to know the test a little better,” Kaylee said. “Then sophomore year I knew I wanted to test early so I had a lot of chances to get my score up so I practiced through Khan Academy in my room with a mask on during the start of Covid. I took the first official one my sophomore year and scored 1510 and made the PSAT team after that. This year, I did nine weeks of study where you take an SAT a week. I took a few weeks off, then took the test.”
With her mother Mary Kay teaching third grade at Donald Elementary School, education naturally has been a big thing for Kaylee and her older sister Kathlyn.
“Since Mom’s a teacher, she’s always pushed us to read,” Kaylee said.
But Kaylee has many non-academic interests too. She started a STEM club at Flower Mound Elementary School, is a member of the FMHS swim and water polo teams, and also competes in club water polo with Thunder Water Polo. She has played piano every day since kindergarten and recently started learning guitar. A member of the Mensa High IQ society since third grade, she’s also into marbles.
Last summer Kaylee took an online neuroscience camp through Indiana University in addition to a couple of on-site cybersecurity courses through Texas A&M. She will learn in March if she will be accepted into Research Science Institute through the Center of Excellence in Education summer
research program in Boston.
“She’s really good at finding programs online to apply for,” Mary Kay said. “She just finds things like that to keep her going. It’s pretty cool.”
“I try to make my extracurriculars something I am interested in so when I get home I don’t have to fill the day with more fun things,”
During the pandemic’s quarantine period, she evenspent a weekend in Austin where her uncle taught her how to weld.
“She shocks us all the time,” Mary Kay said. “Both of my kids are very smart but Kaylee works so hard. Like practicing in her room for the SATs with her mask on. It was not us suggesting it, that was all her. She’s so driven to get what she wants.”
Kaylee hopes her perfect score is enough to be accepted at her top choice for college – Massachusetts Institute of Technology – where she wants to study biomedical engineering.
“It’s a long shot obviously,” said Mary Kay, who has lived in Flower Mound with husband Kevin since 2001.
“I would rather aim high,” Kaylee added.
If that doesn’t happen, she’s considering Georgia Tech, Rice, Texas, and Texas A&M.
“I’ve always been a goal-oriented person so when I get something in my mind I work towards it,” Kaylee said. “It keeps me busy. I like to have something to do, something to work towards. So when I decided I wanted to go to schools like MIT or Rice testing was just a big part of that. I prepped for that to give myself the best opportunity possible.”